The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by Congress in 1968 to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations. The Act is notable for safeguarding the special character of these rivers, while also recognizing the potential for their appropriate use and development. It encourages river management that crosses political boundaries and promotes public participation in developing goals for river protection.
The Virgin River is the only designated Wild and Scenic River in the state, under the management of the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. 145.4 miles are wild, 11.3 miles are scenic and 12.3 miles are recreational, for a total of 169.3 miles total.